The thing about the ’80s is they didn’t look anywhere near as cool as gaming seems to remember them. All that neon was mostly reserved for a handful of color vector-graphic games like Tempest, Star Wars and the near-forgotten glory of Sega’s Tac-Scan. (And Major Havoc, Space Duel, Star Trek…) It sounds like a lot all listed off like this but those were a small handful of titles in the endless rows of Pac-Man and its clones plus various platformers and shooters. Somehow, though, the look has nearly become a cliche, which would be a problem if it wasn’t such a distinctive, fantastic style. The latest game to borrow the retro-80s look is Cyber Hook, which as the name implies is a grappling-hook speed-runner set in a cyber semi-vector environment.
Each of Cyber Hook’s seventy levels is a mad parkour dash to the finish line, wall-running and jumping while using the grappling hook to swing over the massive chasms between one safe spot and the next. A big part of the game is figuring out ways to break the level wide open, using the momentum of the swing to preserve speed and chain one move into the next. The obstacles are color-coded, with blue being grapple-able, red not so much, and green needing a shot from the finger-gun to either clear the way or blast the shell off a handy piece of scenery. One of the fun things about watching speedrunners is seeing them abuse physics to move faster than the game ever intended anyone to move, but Cyber Hook is built on the assumption that players will figure this out, meaning the leaderboards should have some jaw-dropping times on there.
Cyber Hook is scheduled for Q1 2020, which theoretically mean sometime in the next six weeks or so. If that’s too long a wait there’s a nice brand-new trailer below, showing off both the game’s speed and YouTube’s utter inability to keep up with it. Give it a look, but remember that while the ’80s were pretty nice overall, they just didn’t look as cool as the neon-retro style the decade inspired.